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5 SMS Marketing Campaigns for Restaurants


SMS marketing is well-suited to the restaurant industry, where the peaks and lulls are hard to predict. With SMS, restaurateurs can announce special offers at short notice and be sure customers will receive the text. Throw geo-location technology into the mix and they can alert only those people in the vicinity. If there’s a quiet afternoon, SMS messaging can turn things around within minutes. 

A recent Cellit study found the average Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) has 791 text subscribers per location. That’s a heck of a lot of business. To get the creative juices flowing for your next mobile marketing campaign, check out some of the very best SMS messaging strategies used by some of the biggest brands around:


Taco Bell

Taco Bell leverages the power of SMS to stay in touch with their customers, but like all good mobile marketing campaigns, text forms just one part of an overarching, cohesive strategy. Their Frutista Freeze campaign is a case in point. First they encouraged users to text a number by plastering it across radio, television and print ads. Then they made brilliant use of time-limitations by applying expiration dates a few days after subscription. The result? 13,000 new subscribers inside 5 weeks. 


Cause marketing via SMS was used to great effect by Arby’s recently. The Arby’s Foundation spread awareness about childhood hunger by partnering with Share Our Strengths No Kid Hungry campaign.


In New York, a 16-store Subway franchise launched a major mobile marketing campaign to increase repeat business with existing customers. The ‘My Subway Mobile SMS’ program averaged a 9% redemption rate – significantly higher than the 1% returned by earlier direct mail campaigns.


By offering diners a chance to win a trip to a destination of their choice, Hooters not only built positive brand awareness, they encouraged new opt-ins by the thousand, growing their mobile database during the campaign itself. It was all down to an incentive-driven SMS strategy that encompassed in-store advertising and social networking.

Texas Roadhouse

By piloting a six month mobile marketing strategy in 20 of their 400 locations, Texas Roadhouse generated an average redemption rate of 17%. Billed as a loyalty club, the campaign offered free appetizers to new sign ups.




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